News and Commentary

Air Force Officer Accuses Astronaut Ex-Partner Of Hacking Into Her Bank Account From Space
Artists concept of astronaut floating in outer space while his fellow astronauts work on the space station. A galactic scene serves as background.
Marc Ward/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

Summer Worden and Anne McClain were in the midst of a bitter divorce when Worden noticed McClain had accessed her bank account.

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, notified the Federal Trade Commission and filed a complaint with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Inspector General. McClain, bank records showed, had accessed the bank account while preparing for NASA’s first all-female spacewalk aboard the International Space Station.

McClain told The New York Times through a lawyer that she accessed the account as she had been doing throughout the couple’s relationship – to ensure the couple’s finances were still in check. When she returned to Earth, she was interviewed, under oath, by NASA’s inspector general. The Times reported that McClain said she had Worden’s permission to continue checking on their finances as she had always done.

McClain’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his client “strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” and added that the astronaut “is totally cooperating.”

Worden, on the other hand, sees things differently. She believed McClain committed identity theft and improperly accessed her bank records. She said she first learned McClain gained access when she appeared to know too much about Worden’s spending habits while involved in a divorce and parenting dispute.

KPRC2 in Houston reported that Worden had a son prior to meeting McClain “conceived through in vitro fertilization carried by a surrogate.”

“He is mine biologically, I had him all by myself,” Worden told the outlet.

Her son was 1 when she met McClain. The couple were married eight months later but after three years began to struggle. Worden told the outlet she had no reason to believe her son needed protection from McClain. “I trusted her,” Worden said of McClain.

Last year, McClain requested shared parenting rights for the child, because she “was there for his first steps and first words” and that she shared “a very healthy and deep parental relationship” with the boy.

A few months later, McClain claimed Worden assaulted her. Worden denied the allegations and the charges were dropped. Worden then filed for divorce.

It was after Worden filed for divorce when McClain accessed her bank records, which the astronaut said were still intertwined.

NASA responded to KPRC’s questions by saying the agency “has no statement on this and does not comment on personal or personnel matters,” adding that McClain “is an active astronaut.”

Worden told the outlet that no court date has been set for the custody case but that the divorce should be finalized in October.

McClain, as mentioned above, made national news in March when she and another astronaut were set to participate in the first all-female spacewalk. A week before the historic event, McClain realized she could not maneuver in a large-size space suit, and the space station only had one medium-sized suit prepped for a spacewalk. It would have taken considerable time to make another suit ready, so NASA assigned a male astronaut to take McClain’s place. The switch angered many who blamed sexism and laziness for the crew switch, despite statements from NASA explaining the situation.